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Due to an accident while swimming in the sea, Francis meets the surfer Moondoggy. She's fascinated of his sport and starts to hang out with his clique. Although they make fun of her at first, they teach her to surf. Soon she's accepted and given the nickname "Gidget". But it's hard work to become more than a friend to Moondoggy. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
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When Gidget has completed her first successful surf the gang carry a surf board back to the shack. An audio reel of various ad libs plays during this part. After the Gidget learns of the "orgy" the gang disbands and the very same audio reel of ad libs is heard though it has no relevance this time around. See more »
What a time capsule! A film that hearkens back to a cultural era of innocence, "Gidget" screams 1950s, with clothes, lingo, attitudes, and characters that now seem quaint. Gidget (Sandra Dee), that "pint size" sixteen-year-old who lives in Southern California, scampers down to the beach and takes an instant liking to surfing. In the process, she meets a fraternity of youthful, shirtless beach bums. Surfing, fun, and romantic complications ensue.
All fluffy and frothy in the first half, the film's plot and characters reek of bubble-gum shallowness, with dialogue to match. But the plot turns more dramatic in the second half, and characters show at least some degree of depth. Gidget comes across as smart, determined and, given her age, dubiously skilled at psychology, with words that make a big impression on The Big Kahuna (Cliff Robertson), surfers' de facto leader. Ultimately, the film conveys the theme that events and people ... change.
Visuals feature bright, splashy colors and a photogenic cast. Rear-screen projection and cast doubles, for the surfing scenes, look hokey now, but were the norm in those days. Music trends romantic and lively. Naturalistic sound of ocean waves enhances a relaxed, carefree tone.
Although perhaps needed for story balance, plot sequences that involve Gidget's parents seem stodgy, and detract from the main focus on the relationship between Gidget and her beach pals.
Sandra Dee, despite her squeaky voice, gives a performance that was better than I had expected. James Darren and Cliff Robertson add competent support.
If ever there was a film that captures the carefree, innocent life of kids in the 1950s, this is surely it. Undeniably nostalgic to older viewers, and prehistoric to younger viewers, "Gidget" will continue to fascinate, emblematic of an era that will never return.
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